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FairWild and International Agreements

The FairWild Standard contributes to the implementation of existing regulatory frameworks provided by national resource management systems as well as by international conventions such as The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

FairWild and CITES

Making well informed, science-based decisions about whether trade in animal and plant species is detrimental to the survival of species is essential to preventing over-exploitation through international trade and central to the successful implementation of CITES. Countries exporting plant and animal species listed in Appendix II of CITES are required to demonstrate the levels of export are not detrimental to the survival of the species concerned. This is achieved through the compilation and issuing of a so-called Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) by the CITES Scientific Authority of the country concerned.

Currently there is little detailed technical guidance on how to compile NDFs or how to make them comparable between different countries. The FairWild Standard has been useful in this process, see Supporting the Implementation of ISSC-MAP in CITES through the Non-Detriment-Finding-Process (PDF).

Members and partners of the FairWild Foundation have ensured that the relevant ecological criteria (formerly the ISSC-MAP Standard) of the FairWild Standard were considered at International CITES expert meetings in Mexico and elsewhere. The general outcome of the Mexico meeting was presented in a formal document (Doc 16.2, PDF) to the 15th Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP15) in March 2010, with a specific reference to ISSC-MAP in paragraph 6.

The guidance docs from the Mexico expert meetings were used by the CITES Plants Committee to form the basis of papers on medicinal plants, agarwood and timber. All elements relevant to CITES in ISSC-MAP were used in the resultant CoP15 document (Doc 16.3, PDF).

The ISSC-MAP Standard is also referenced in another CoP15 document (Doc 17, PDF), which states: "the aim of ISSC-MAP is to bridge the gap between existing broad conservation guidelines and management plans developed for specific local conditions."

TRAFFIC has supported the enhancement of NDFs for African Cherry Prunus africana through providing expert information and experience on usage and application of the ecological criteria of the FairWild Standard. Cameroon has based a related NDF for P. africana on the Standard, resulting in a National Prunus africana Management Plan for Cameroon.

TRAFFIC, in a joint project with WWF Germany, supported by the the German Government’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), is currently developing guidance and training modules for CITES Scientific Authorities on conducting NDFs for perennial plants, partially based on the FairWild Standard. This will allow CITES Parties to use NDFs more effectively as a practical tool to manage and ensure the long-term sustainability of their vital natural resources. The draft Guidance is developed based on expert consultation, including consultative outcomes from a workshop in Viet Nam, applying the draft Guidance to CITES-listed cycad species. Once finalized, the Guidance can be used for future NDF capacity building initiatives and will also be available to any other Party or Organisation wishing to use them.

Lesotho and South Africa: NDF based on FairWild Standard

TRAFFIC has field tested how the FairWild Standard could guide the elaboration of a NDF for Pelargonium sidoides in Lesotho and South Africa as part of an international project "Saving Plants that Save Lives and Livelihoods", funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-ordinated by TRAFFIC and WWF Germany.

Although not CITES-listed, Pelargonium sidoides was a good candidate for an exercise on conducting NDF, given its population is under potential long-term threat owing to the very slow regeneration of tuber material left in the ground by harvesters and the danger of complete root removal as a result of unmanaged, repeat harvesting. 

The results of this exercise were presented (PDF) at a CITES NDF workshop in Mexico, the World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (WOCMAP) in 2008, and discussed at the 19th Meeting of the CITES Plants Committee in 2011. In South Africa, the results of the Pelargonium sidoides NDF were used by the national Pelargonium Working Group to complete a Biodiversity Management Plan for the species, which was approved by government in 2012.

FairWild and the CBD

FairWild has provided essential tools towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)'s core aim of conservation of biological resources, including their sustainable use and fair sharing of benefits resulting from such use. The FairWild Standard provides CBD Parties, as well as other governments, government and civil society organizations, organizations representing indigenous and local communities and the private sector with the means to achieve these CBD objectives within their projects and operations focusing on wild plant collection. It is a useful tool to support the delivery on the Aichi Targets of the CBD’s Strategic Plan 2011-2020, in particular its targets 4, 13, 18.

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)

FairWild is an excellent tool to achieve several targets of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, which was adopted in 2002 by the CBD and updated at the 10th Conference of Parties (CoP). The GSPC aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and sustainable development through inclusion of its targets into government policy, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), and targeted national plant conservation strategies and/or private sector guidelines.

The comprehensiveness of the FairWild Standard and the flexibility in its implementation make the FairWild Foundation an ideal partner for governments, companies, NGOs and community-based plant sourcing operations for working towards fulfilment of the GSPC targets, namely:

  • Target 3: Information, research and associated outputs, and methods necessary to implement the Strategy developed and shared.
  • Target 11: No species of wild flora endangered by international trade.
  • Target 12: All wild-harvested plant-based products sourced sustainably.
  • Target 13: Indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices associated with plant resources, maintained or increased, as appropriate, to support customary use, sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care.

ISSC-MAP, whose criteria form the ecological part of the FairWild Standard, is referred to as a tool for implementing specific GSPC targets in the Plant Conservation Report (PDF) that was presented at CBD CoP 9. This report was developed by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation (GPPC) and other relevant organizations and stakeholders. It presented an in-depth review of progress in implementing the GSPC. Furthermore, the FairWild Standard is referenced in the technical rationale of Target 12 of GSPC 2011-2020 in Annex II of the Recommendations of the 16th Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) supporting the Decision XI/26 of CBD CoP 11.

The FairWild Standard is further included in the Toolkit for implementation of the GSPC. The FairWild Foundation advocates for the inclusion of references to the FairWild Standard in national policies relevant to GSPC implementation. In 2012, the Japan National Biodiversity Policy and Japan Plant Conservation Strategy included references to the FairWild Standard as a tool for delivery on sustainable use commitments. During 2013 support to CBD Parties requesting input for updating their NBSAPs is underway by the FairWild Foundation and TRAFFIC in various countries around the world.

The European Plant Conservation Strategy (EPCS)

The targets of the European Plant Conservation Strategy (EPCS) translate the internationally accepted Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) into a European context. The EPCS provides individuals, institutions, organisations and governments across Europe with a unique opportunity to take action to secure the future of wild plants and fungi and the ecosystem services and livelihoods that depend upon them. ISSC-MAP, the forerunner of the FairWild Standard, is named in the European Strategy for Plant Conservation 2008-2014 (PDF) as a valuable instrument contributing to achieve Objective 3: Using plant diversity sustainably, specifically addressing targets 11 (No species of wild flora endangered by international trade) and 12 (30% of plant-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed).

Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) requirements

The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources is one of the CBD’s three objectives. Parties to the CBD recognize that access to these resources must be subject to Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and must be based on Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT), including fair and equitable sharing of any resulting commercial benefits. Non-monetary benefit-sharing mechanisms may include access to and transfer of technology, the exchange of information, and technical and scientific cooperation.

The CBD also requires that access to biodiversity-related Traditional Knowledge (TK) occurs with the approval of the holders of that knowledge, who must also participate equitably in the resulting benefits. The ‘Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization’ was signed during the 10th Conference of the Parties to CBD in Nagoya, Japan (2010). This protocol provides the international framework for ABS. It entered into force on 12 October 2014. However, awareness of how to implement ABS remains limited at the community, government, civil society and private sector levels. Furthermore, national policies that help in developing and implementing ABS remain a significant challenge.

The FairWild Standard includes ABS elements as important components of sustainable use practices in Principle 4 of the FairWild Standard text and in the related Performance Indicators. The Guidance Manual for Implementation of Social & Fair Trade Aspects in FairWild Operations (see Documents), elaborates details for implementing some aspects of ABS requirements in the context of FairWild operations.

In addition, there are several guidance manuals on ABS developed by other organisations that provide valuable and detailed information on this topic. It is recommended to refer to these as necessary in developing ABS agreements as part of FairWild Standard implementation:

Lessons learnt from a FairWild implementation project in the Brazilian Amazon were presented at a CBD expert meeting on ABS in Colombia in April 2010. The project and case-study promoted a better understanding of the implications of the use of biological resources and associated TK in the context of the FairWild Standard, aiming to establish agreements on conservation and benefit sharing with different partners, including the private sector (see factsheet, and more information (in Spanish)).